The Flamingo Project
As a Wildlife Conservation Centre, Ardastra’s mission is to enrich the lives of the animals we care for and to help future generations of endangered species thrive through dedicated breeding programs. We achieve this through the generous support of our visitors and patrons from all around the world.
The goal of our current fundraising campaign is to raise enough funds to improve our flamingos’ breeding habitat which will ensure that new flamingo chicks are hatched for years to come! Learn more below or at our GoFundMe page about why this is so important. We thank you for your interest and support in our program.
About the Flamingo Project
In the late 1950’s the population of the National bird of The Bahamas, the Caribbean Flamingo, was severely threatened with numbers dropping as low as 5000 birds! In an effort to intervene and prevent extinction, Ardastra Gardens in collaboration with the Bahamian Government and Bahamas National Trust, looked to establish an ex-situ breeding program, which is a relocation of endangered or rare species from their natural habitat to areas equipped for their protection and preservation.
The breeding program became highly successful as the original flock grew in numbers as young chicks hatched out year after year. Overtime the birds were conditioned to “march” for visitors creating the perfect opportunity to educate the public about the birds’ natural history and conservation threats. The efforts of Ardastra Gardens increased even more when the gardens were purchased by Norman Solomon, a local Bahamian, whose passion for wildlife and conservation inspired him to incorporate more animals into the gardens. This brought thousands of visitors annually to marvel at the tranquil and restorative gardens thus bridging the gap between nature and humans. It is believed that humans are more willing to take an active role in protecting the natural world when they are able to experience it firsthand.
In 2019, the gardens transitioned from a zoo to a Wildlife Conservation Centre as the rescue/rehab numbers exceeded more than 75% of the population with Ardastra undertaking the expenses to house and care for these animals. Ardastra Gardens has, to-date, been privately funded. However, we very much need philanthropic support from the public to meet its operating needs and to fulfill its educational and conserving missions. In addition, the pandemic has made it even more difficult to carry out the vision and mission of Ardastra Gardens. With the front gate remaining closed for five days per week and entries being the main source of revenue, we desperately need your help! After years of successful Flamingo breeding, their habitat is in need of restoration to enhance the environmental factors that trigger breeding behaviour. These factors include the water quality of their pond which is saturated with sediment and in need of dredging, the availability of suitable nest building substrate and the required sunlight to name a few. Unfortunately, our last chick hatched in 2010 and we must act now before we lose the opportunity to breed permanently due to an aging population. With intervention we can restore the Flamingo’s habitat allowing our precious National Bird to thrive while giving the public opportunity to witness this unique experience.
Arianne, a sixteen-year-old expatriate from Quebec, Canada and current student of Windsor School in Nassau, grew up in Abaco, The Bahamas. There she was closely involved with the organization “Friends of the Environment (FRIENDS).” Like many others in Abaco, on the 1st of September 2019, she survived the biggest hurricane in the Atlantic, Dorian. In July of 2020 she moved to Nassau, Bahamas and began her involvement as a volunteer at Ardastra. Arienne has always expressed a great passion for the environment and her community. To this end, she has organized, along with her mother, the Flamingo Breeding Project, working alongside the animal team at Ardastra.